MP proposes letting rules

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South Yorkshire MP John Healey has introduced a bill in the House of Commons to control the property market’s ‘Wild West’ by licensing letting agents.

The Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne also wants to ban ‘rip-off fees’ for tenants.

Mr Healey’s Letting Agents (Competition, Choice and Standards) Bill has cross-party support and backing from housing charities.

Mr Healey said: “There is a silent crisis in the private rented sector. More than nine million people now rent their home from a private landlord.

“Half of those in private rented homes are over 35 and more than one million families with children are basing their lives on landlords who can evict them at a month or two’s notice.”

“Anyone can set up as a letting or managing agent, even if they have a bad track record or a criminal record.

“Tenants are often hit by huge up-front fees. Multiple charges for administration, inventories, references, credit checks, deposit handling, contracts and tenancy renewal are common.”